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England v India, Group E, Durban

Yuvraj onslaught overwhelms England

The Report by Dileep Premachandran

September 19, 2007

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India 218 for 4 (Sehwag 68, Yuvraj 58) beat England 200 for 6 (Collingwood 28, Pathan 3-33) by 18 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-details
How they were out

Done and dusted: Yuvraj Singh did a perfect demolition job with six sixes off six balls © International Cricket Council

Yuvraj Singh did a Garry Sobers on his way to an astonishing 12-ball half-century as India's batsmen eviscerated the English bowling at Kingsmead. England's response was a hard-hitting one, but with no one able emulate Yuvraj, India held on for an 18-run victory that kept alive their hopes of a place in the semi-finals. Vikram Solanki, Kevin Pietersen and Paul Collingwood tilted at the windmill for a while, but a fine spell from Irfan Pathan ensured that England went home with no wins in the Super Eights.

India finished with 218 for 4, with Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir also making fifties, but everything that went before was eclipsed by the penultimate over in which Yuvraj came out swinging against a hapless Stuart Broad. There had been an altercation of sorts with Andrew Flintoff at the end of the previous over, and Yuvraj took out his ire on the white ball. The first ball was sent soaring over midwicket and nearly out of the ground, and the second flicked behind square. After an effortless loft over extra-cover and another biff behind point off a poor full toss, you could sense the frisson of excitement around the ground.

Paul Collingwood and Broad had a chat, but it didn't help, as an on-bended-knee effort over midwicket was followed by another huge swipe over wide mid-on. Six balls, six sixes, 36 runs, and utter humiliation for an English team that had already exited the tournament.

They hadn't started badly, with James Anderson, Flintoff and Broad bowling tidily early on as India struggled to force the pace. There was one majestic pull for six by Gambhir off Broad's bowling and the singles came along often enough though, but it was the introduction of the lesser bowlers that precipitated a ruthless assault.

Sehwag pulled Dimitri Mascarenhas for four and then walloped a six over cover as 15 came from the over, while Chris Tremlett was greeted with a top-edged slash for six to third man. Running out of options, Collingwood brought himself on. The impact was nearly immediate, but the miscue from Sehwag was put down by Mascarenhas at short fine leg. The enormity of that lapse was brought home with a cut over point for six and a crunched cover-drive that got Sehwag to 50 in just 38 balls.

Gambhir wasn't idle either, cracking Tremlett down the ground and then taking Darren Maddy for two fours in an over as he got to his half-century in just 36 deliveries. After they had added 136 in just 14.4 overs, Sehwag fell, moving too far across his stumps in an effort to work Tremlett down to fine leg.

Gambhir's dismissal was as tame, paddling Maddy to short fine leg, and when Robin Uthappa was bowled on the walk by Tremlett, a wobble was possible. But with Mahendra Singh Dhoni largely a spectator at the other end, Yuvraj proceeded to play the most remarkable innings ever seen in Twenty20 cricket.

Virender Sehwag found his groove and gave India a rollicking start © International Cricket Council

Everything that followed was an anticlimax. Solanki gave it a real go at the top of the order, cutting and pulling with immense power, and there was 29 from Darren Maddy as the first-wicket pair kept up with the asking rate. Joginder Sharma, playing his first game of the tournament, could have had both, but Rudra Pratap Singh fluffed a chance at deep third man and Yuvraj Singh a sitter at point to leave poor Joginder with the distinctly unflattering figures of 0 for 56.

Kevin Pietersen mowed a couple of shots down the ground and targetted the short midwicket boundary ruthlessly. Solanki departed for 43, caught in the deep, and Pathan and RP Singh then increased the pressure with a couple of tight overs. The clincher was the dismissal of Pietersen, a stunning return catch by Harbhajan, for 39, and the Indians celebrated as though the match was already in the bag.

It wasn't quite. Owais Shah and Collingwood flailed away for a while to create some anxiety in the Indian camp, but a brilliant over from RP Singh settled nerves, as Shah skied one and Collingwood was bowled behind his legs. After that, the task was beyond even Flintoff, and India could reflect on a job well done and a Yuvraj blitz that fairly shifted the ground from beneath English feet.

Dileep Premachandran is an associate editor on Cricinfo

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Dileep Premachandran Associate editor Dileep Premachandran gave up the joys of studying thermodynamics and strength of materials with a view to following in the footsteps of his literary heroes. Instead, he wound up at the Free Press Journal in Mumbai, writing on sport and politics before Gentleman gave him a column called Replay. A move to MyIndia.com followed, where he teamed up with Sambit Bal, and he arrived at ESPNCricinfo after having also worked for Cricket Talk and total-cricket.com. Sunil Gavaskar and Greg Chappell were his early cricketing heroes, though attempts to emulate their silken touch had hideous results. He considers himself obscenely fortunate to have watched live the two greatest comebacks in sporting history - India against invincible Australia at the Eden Gardens in 2001, and Liverpool's inc-RED-ible resurrection in the 2005 Champions' League final. He lives in Bangalore with his wife, who remains astonishingly tolerant of his sporting obsessions.
Related Links
Players/Officials: Virender Sehwag | Yuvraj Singh
Series/Tournaments: ICC World Twenty20
Teams: England | India
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